October 24, 2004

From the New to the Old

We took a morning stroll around Ville Nouvelle in search of breakfast. Onew thing we failed to realize pre-booking of our trip was that it landed right smack dab in the middle of Ramadan, the holiest of holy months in the Muslim faith. Things generally aren not open during the day and it is a bit quieter on the whole. Therefore we were relegated to the Golden Arches for breakfast (good thing Jim and I have decided to just 'let ourselves go' and deal with the consequences when we return stateside). But this was not just any Mickey D's - this one was a double decker with terraces on the upper and lower levels with amazing views to match. Inside, there were 'real' menus on each table and 2 flat screen TV's. And not only was this the most aesthetically pleasing McDonald's I've ever been to - they offered real coffee and expresso to boot!

They dont call us tourists for nuttin

After enjoying our Burger Royals avec frites, we packed up our bags and headed to Old Fes (Fes El-Bali). Surrounded by high walls, Old Fes is one of the largest medieval cities in the modern world. Its labyrinth of streets make Stone Town look simple to navigate.

Inside the walled city

We spent the day traversing the maze, taking in all the sights and smells. Every square inch is packed with vendors, selling everything from socks and kleenex to homemade candies (dee-licious) and spices. It is more than a big congested on the narrow streets and it was always interesting to make room for the occasional donkey passing by.

With the help of an unauthorized guide, Abu, we made our way to the Kairaouine Mosque. Dating back to 859 AD, it is one of the oldest mosques in Morocco. Unfortunately most (all) mosques are closed to non-Muslims so the most we got a peek in the door (which is probably all I would have been able to get anyway, having exposed knees and all).

Whitey not allowed

We went up to the terrace to view the mosque from above. Anti-climatic to say the least, but we did have to cut through a carpet shop on the way up. Needless to say, we stopped for a 'show and tell' at the carpet coop on our way down. We figured it was a safe call because Jim nor I really like the look of the Moroccan carpets, so we figured we couldn't get pressured into buying one. Well, of course there was the one carpet that we liked.....

Fruit of the Loom

Jim then continued the mission to get a Moroccan flag patch for his pack - asking our local guide from help finding a store that might sell one. Abu seemed to know immediately what Jim was looking for and where to find one. Imagine our surprise when he brought us to a spice shop and the woman asked what aphrodisiac we wanted! I guess "Moroccan flag" is similiar to "Spanish Fly."

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